In Greece there are no jobs for people with special needs and once their school years are over they have nothing to do but maybe help at home as best they can.
May 2017: Started by Dr Waldraud Sperlich and Eva Lang ( LYSO publishing ) in August 2016, the group sold their first products at the Kalamata Central market on March 24th. They were given a free concession by the Mayor of Kalamata. Now they have a stall almost every Saturday.
How LYSO's Garden got started
Through connections in Kalamata, Eva & Waldraud became actively involved in helping out at Kalamata’s state-run school for children with special needs, and had a photo published on their ΛΥΣΟ website showing them with students at the school. By chance, this caught the attention of a Google-searching, German philanthropist from the Heracles Foundation, based in Liechtenstein. He was looking for a suitable cause to sponsor in Greece and specifically in the Mani – his uncle was a Greek shipping magnate and was originally from here.
Out of the blue they had a call offering them €50,000 on an annual basis. Then began the major task of setting up a non-profit company. Also by chance they met Eleftheria Xagorari who is a member of the Greek Organic Farming Organisation and proved invaluable in suggesting locations in which to base the project.
The first site was set up in Kalamata, but the German benefactor really wanted a location actually in the Mani. Eleftheria suggested the organic greenhouse between Stoupa and Agios Nikolaos, called “Bio-GIS”, and Giorgos and Iphigenia who run this place agreed to participate in the scheme. Note:Their van is driven by a young man from Afghanistan living in our community, called Martin! He is the young man who was helped by Margareta Wolf, when he first came to Mani, and worked on her stall at the Fadderfriends Bazaars
Now ex-pupils from the special school are able to work 3 days a week in Kalamata and 2 days in Stoupa, and are a very busy, but also contented workforce. And what of the future? There are plans to create LYSO’S Kitchen to educate participants in how to actually cook the produce they are involved in growing.
How can you help? Firstly, buy their products. You will be made very welcome if you visit the greenhouses in Stoupa or their market stall every Saturday in Kalamata, or from the “Bio-GIS”van . Individual donations can be made through the LYSO's Garden's National Bank of Greece account. : Lyso’s Garden
For the full story see INSIDE THE MANI 2017 - it is free to download as a PDF